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Sleep Summit and The Future: How the Mattress Industry Can Alter the Trajectory of Human Health

If you believe the mattress industry can make a global impact on sleep health, keep reading. If not, feel free to slang those white rectangles, and best of luck to you. There are plenty of “Mattress Millionaires” who care more about making a buck than making an impact. 

When I first entered the mattress industry, I hadn’t thought about the fact that people will spend more time on the products we make than any other single object in their lifetime. I didn’t consider that a person’s bedroom is the safest place on the planet, or that lack of sleep leads to dementia and a host of other maladies.

I know now we are not just selling mattresses, but instead have the power to improve people’s health, elevate their moods, increase their productivity, and ultimately, enhance their quality of life. It’s a big responsibility, but also a wonderful opportunity to make a real difference.

The question then becomes, how do we maximize our ability to make a difference?

One thing is clear: it starts with what each individual in this industry is willing to accept, reject, or envision.

Sleep Summit by The FAM 2023

To Accept, Reject, or Envision

How many times have you been to the same market, a repeat conference, or laid on the same product? Doing what’s always been done and expecting different results: that’s the definition of insanity.

What happens if we refuse to keep doing what’s always been done? It’s time to break away from the normal, predictable rhythm of the sleepy mattress industry and actively create the future. Otherwise, we’re leaving it to consolidated companies, private equity, observers, and analysts.

To be clear, many of us are too lenient with what we’re willing to accept in this industry. 

Somewhere along the line we blindly accepted that chemical-filled mattresses are the way to go and lower costs outweigh recyclability.

Beyond that, we’ve accepted the commoditization of the category at the hands of Amazon and often by ourselves as we blast the airwaves with “$199 queen sets, this weekend only!”

Meanwhile, RSA training falls on the shoulders of 1099 reps who beg the manufacturers for a product sheet or a trifold brochure.

This is our fault.

Some people have accepted all of this and simply move on. Others have shown bravery by rejecting the status quo. But far too many have remained dangerously, silently indifferent. 

In the grand scheme of things, we can choose to accept, reject, or remain indifferent. But even rejection, which is a noble path, is no longer good enough. 

Because rejection is nothing more than reacting to the dominant forces. It requires no vision. 

This is why vision holds immense power. A clear vision of the future surpasses mere rejection. 

We have the power to plan and prepare a better future for this industry, to challenge the status quo, and to innovate outside the confines of traditional practices. It’s time to move beyond rejection to embrace a bold vision and actively engage in creating a future where the mattress industry makes a global impact on sleep and wellness.

Editors Needed

“It’s easier to edit than create.” I love that quote because it speaks to the tenacity it takes to conquer the tyranny of a blank page. That’s all I’ve done here; scribble what’s inside my heart and my head on a few pages in hopes these thoughts will attract a few brave editors.

If you’re willing to move beyond rejection and indifference, let’s round out this vision together. Make it bigger, make it so bold that it feels scary. Push your mental limits and remember, “the unknown is where possibility lives.” If we are going to discover what’s truly possible we must venture into the unknown.

A Draft: The FAM’s Vision

By 2034, the mattress industry will revolutionize global sleep health and wellness, making a profound impact on billions of lives. We will lead an era where sustainable, high-quality sleep solutions become the norm, not the exception, reaching every corner of the world. Our industry will innovate with advanced materials and technologies, setting new standards for comfort, health, and environmental responsibility.

An engaged network of over 100,000 dedicated professionals will drive a 50% improvement in global sleep quality, significantly reducing sleep-related health issues and enhancing the well-being of the world.

As the most trusted authority in sleep, our industry will be synonymous with integrity, quality, and the pursuit of better sleep for all. Through our unwavering commitment, we will transform sleep health into a cornerstone of public health, making restful nights and energized days a universal reality.


If you’re willing to make that vision bigger and better, send me a message. I can’t wait to hear from you. In the meantime, let’s move beyond rejection and indifference and start taking small steps toward a bright future. 

It starts by changing the way we gather.

An Unsolicited Email

I recently received an unsolicited email that struck a chord with me. I believe it perfectly captures the essence of what sets FAM events apart from traditional industry conferences

Subject Line: FAM VS [Another Industry Conference]

Hey Mark,

This year I attended my first [BLANK] Conference. I met many of the attendees and FAM members there and all I can say is it seemed like night and day to a FAM Event!

I felt the conference was a structured checklist of repetitive content that has happened for years. Mostly data but nothing to do with it or follow up. I felt it did not have heart like FAM events do.

The Consumption Trap of Traditional Conferences

After reading that email, I realized that traditional conferences in the mattress retail industry often fall into the trap of passive consumption. Attendees sit through hours of keynote speeches and presentations, peppered with information without much opportunity for interaction or practical application.

Where are the people who are passionate about creating the future?

I want our interactions to be more like a G8 Summit, the organization where heads of the world’s leading industrialized countries gather “to find solutions to pressing issues and increase international cooperation, compiling recommended policies and plans that its members can work collaboratively to implement.”

Yes, work collaboratively. Implement. Take action! Less conference, more summit!

Summits Unlock Solutions

Unlike conferences, summits are designed to be interactive, engaging, and solutions-oriented. They bring together thought leaders, industry innovators, and passionate professionals who are not there to consume information but to actively shape the future. The sessions are crafted to provide actionable insights, stimulate innovative thinking, and foster collaborative problem-solving.

That’s the model for The FAM’s Sleep Summit event; it’s a vehicle for realizing our vision.

The Heart of Sleep Summit: Community and Collaboration

As you saw in that unsolicited email, one thing that sets The FAM’s Sleep Summit apart is heart. It’s our focus on community and collaboration. This event is about more than just business; it’s about building a thriving community of professionals who care deeply about the future of mattress retail and the sleep industry and choose to influence it.

At Sleep Summit, you’re not just a passive attendee. You’re an active participant in shaping the industry’s future. This sense of community and shared purpose is what gives Sleep Summit its heart and, in my opinion, makes it a must-attend event.

A Glimpse at What’s Ahead

Last year’s Sleep Summit brought together 115 amazing people for two full days of sparks and energy. The air was filled with teaching, training, sleep education, new ideas, networking, laughter, and fresh perspectives. The stage featured incredible speakers like:

  • Mattress Firm Co-Founder, Harry Roberts
  • Drift founder, Dr. Kimberly Lemke
  • Megan Anderson, Mattress Firm
  • Bedhead Marketing’s Stephen Ferguson
  • Esquire Advertising’s Founder, Eric Grindley
  • Sales Expert, Bob Muenkel
  • And many more…

This year promises to take it to the next level, with a lineup of speakers ready to share their expertise and help you achieve your goals — plus, we’re lit about our electrifying theme.

The theme for The FAM’s Sleep Summit 2024, “Back to the Future of Sleep: Rewind to What Works and Reimagine the Future,” is all about revisiting proven practices while innovating for tomorrow.

There are forgotten fundamentals that have consistently delivered success in the mattress business and by returning to these core principles, we’ll resurface winning strategies and ideas that may have been neglected over time.

Simultaneously, we’ll be traveling to the future where the mattress industry has become a vehicle for global change in sleep health.

I can already feel the 1.21 gigawatts of electric energy pulsing through Bentonville!

Are you Yella, McFly?

In the movie “Back to the Future,” when Marty McFly returns to the present he learns several key lessons that resonate with our vision for the mattress industry:

  1. The Importance of Relationships: Marty sees how his actions positively transform his family’s future. Similarly, the relationships we build today will shape our industry’s success tomorrow. Remember there’s a difference between interactions and real relationships. At Sleep Summit, you’ll forge connections that can transform your business and the lives of those you serve.
  2. Personal Courage: Marty learns the power of taking initiative and being courageous. This same courage is needed in our industry to push boundaries and embrace new ideas. By attending Sleep Summit, you take the first bold step towards being the change.
  3. Consequences of Actions: Marty realizes how small changes can have profound effects. Our decisions today will have lasting impacts. Sleep Summit is where we can start making those mindful decisions together.
  4. Innovation and Friendship: Marty’s journey highlights the importance of innovation and supportive friendships. At Sleep Summit, you’ll join a community of innovators and friends who will support and inspire you to overcome challenges and create a better future.

Marty returns to a positively transformed present due to his actions, reinforcing resilience and the impact of choices. We, too, can transform our industry through our actions today and wake up in a future we created.

Early Bird Gets the Deal

Here’s your next step: right now, you can unlock savings of $150 on VIP Tickets and $100 on General Admission Tickets with our early bird pricing, available until July 31, 2024.

  • General Admission: $699 Early Bird (August 1st the price increases to $799). Includes full access to all sessions, the welcome party, and the wrap party with live music.
  • VIP Access: $1,449 Early Bird (August 1st the price increases to $1,599). Includes all General Admission benefits plus VIP-exclusive perks like private FAM house access with premium snacks, spirits, and drinks, a VIP-only dinner, early venue entry, and one-year access to video recordings and AI-generated notes from all sessions.

Click through to sleepsummit.thefam.com to register now and become part of a movement to redefine our industry.

Let’s Be The Change

I invite you to join The FAM at Sleep Summit and be the change. Build strong relationships, embrace innovation, foster friendships, and summon the courage to shape a brighter future. Together, we can redefine the mattress industry and make a global impact on sleep and wellness.

Let’s stop being passive participants in our industry’s future. This is a call to action for all mattress professionals who are ready to embrace a bold vision, challenge the status quo, and work collaboratively toward a brighter future.

By joining The FAM and participating in events like Sleep Summit, we can collectively elevate the mattress industry, making significant strides in sleep health and wellness worldwide. Let’s commit to sustainable practices, innovative solutions, and a community-driven approach that prioritizes the well-being of our customers.

Together, we can transform our industry from within. Let’s harness our collective power, creativity, and passion to make a lasting impact. 

Let’s be the change.

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